The Perspective 
Tuesday, 04 December 2007
James Bickers

In the early 1980s, Games magazine used an experimental bit of technology to raise the eyebrows of its readers.

Taking advantage of a printing technology that was cutting edge at the time (and still seldom used today), the magazine customized one of the puzzles within its pages with the actual name of the subscriber. The result was an entire community of readers who were dumbfounded to solve a puzzle, only to find their name included in the solution.
 
Flash forward two decades later to the first major-label song to be released as an official MP3 download without digital copy protection. The song was “A Public Affair” by Jessica Simpson, and aside from the DRM issue, it was notable for another reason: Simpson recorded hundreds of different names for one particular lyric. The end result was that customers could buy a song in which the star was singing directly to them, addressing them by name.
 
A novelty? In both cases, most certainly. But both examples lead to a finer point: Make customers feel special, and you will make an impact. For any interaction you have with them, do all you can to make it all about them. If you ask customers to swipe a loyalty card through a device and then fail to greet them by their name, you’re missing an opportunity. Dale Carnegie was right: The sweetest sound to any person is the sound of his own name.
 
Interactive digital signage represents one of the newest, most exciting ways to make this happen since the introduction of on-demand printing. By adding a layer of interactivity to out-of-home digital media, businesses can engage their customers in a very high-impact transaction — one that can be memorable on every level — while still taking care of business.
 
Recent months have seen several companies experiment with through-the-window touchscreens, which allow shoppers outside a store to determine what is shown on-screen inside. Kiosks connected to public screen networks allow patrons to queue up preferences for the larger viewing public. And we only are at the beginning of the exploration of SMS’s potential, a potential that seems limitless given the proliferation of capable cell phones and equally capable thumbs.
 
The move from one-to-many messaging to one-to-one messaging is as big a shift as business has ever encountered. Technology makes it possible, but it is the people behind the technology that make it make sense. If the builders and deployers of these systems can keep their focus primarily on the people who will be using them, they are destined to succeed in ways not yet fully comprehended.
Posted by: James Bickers AT 11:43 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  
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